What a Hero Desires (“Closer” by Joe Inoue)

One of my favorite J-Pop songs is “CLOSER” by Joe Inoue, which served as the fourth opening song for Naruto Shippuden. Every time I hear it, I get chills. You can find the full version of the song and its official music video on YouTube. Most of the music video—admittedly with quite campy visuals—is a simple story about the hero (played by Inoue) defeating an invading monster that threatens, well, pretty much everything. (For those of you who have played Terraria, the monster looks like Skeletron Prime’s evil sibling.)

Towards the end, after Inoue nails the beast with a missile, he is called before the king, who asks him, “So you are the young boy who saved the world. … You will be rewarded for your bravery. What is it that you want? Gold? Silver?”


Inoue responds, “No, your Highness.”

“Is it land?”

“No, sir.”

“Well, what is it then?”

And Inoue’s answer, which transcends the simplicity of the song and its video, is, “I don’t seek any more, for I have already acquired a gift in my heart.”

Immediately we see him singing for a crowd, and it’s clear that the gift he speaks of is his music. The meaning of “gift” is turned around, so that rather than something he is to receive it is something he is to give. And yet, when Inoue says that he ‘acquired’ it, he’s acknowledging that he received it from elsewhere.

What is true of one’s talents rings true also of grace. We have each of us received the great gift of Jesus in our hearts, and God grant that we be able to share our gift as gracefully, passionately, and effectively as Inoue shares his. For my part, I hope that one day I’ll stand before a King, who will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. What reward would you have?”

And I’ll reply, “I seek nothing more, for I have already acquired the greatest gift in my heart—Yourself.”


One thought on “What a Hero Desires (“Closer” by Joe Inoue)

  1. My asks in the same situation would be:

    “So why grass? Why green? I get the load-bearing utility of four legs for most mammals, but why not six or eight? Why just two arms for us? How did you get us balanced right on two legs- It’s so damn cool and complicated! How does DNA actually work? Why Jews exactly? Was it random? Do you just really dig robes and tassels? Why are kittens cuter than human two year olds? Where is the soul? Is it in me, all of me? Is it that 20 gigawatts left over after you die? Is it my whole brain? If so, why is the thing so bloody ugly? It’s like a giant grey gum wad in your head. So what kinda movies do you want me to make? I’ve finally got the time to learn how. How can I best glorify You? What poems reflect You best? What narrative form do you want? I want to try everything, *everything*! But…*bashful look* ….I want it to make you happy, Mas– Father. I’m not going to do it if it doesn’t make you happy. Your laugh is enough.”

    Basically, I’d talk His ear off and hopefully He’d have the patience to put up with me. 😛 Of course I’d probably also ask, “So Mar’s working on this speech in Your name and he has no idea if it’s any good, or if that even matters? Pointers? Ideas? The guy is his own worst nightmare when it comes to criticism, and….”

    We’d talk long into the night, I think. (To be fair He’d also be talking with everyone else, at once. It’s that kind of place.) We haven’t seen each other, after all, in a very long time.

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